A Blue-Green City aims to recreate a naturally oriented water cycle "When I started, I believed the articles would focus on the technical and environmental aspects of green infrastructure as it relates to water quantity and quality," wrote Julie Schooling, co-editor, October 2016 issue. “And yet every author has emphasized how intertwined the social and economic dimensions of our ‘watershed assets’ are with their ecological benefits.”
“The case study applications built a common understanding of how to achieve runoff-based performance targets for rainwater management and green infrastructure,” stated Rob Conway. “What is unique about our approach is the educational context. Willing owners/developers and their planning/design consultants volunteered to develop and share the case studies. It truly is a collaborative effort.”
"Every single cent that is flowing into the stormwater utility bill is taken out of property taxes. It’s fair, it’s rational, and it’s very forward-looking," Mayor Lisa Helps said. “We are working together to create a liveable and vibrant City, and part of that is building more resilience in our communities. Only by boosting the performance of our infrastructure, will we be able to adequately plan for future risk from a changing climate.”
“The Township of Langley is a community of 113,000 of which 75% of the land area is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. This presents a delicate balance between the preservation of agricultural land and the continued pressure for urban development," stated Councillor Charlie Fox. "It is within this context that the staff and Council champion the theme of harmony and integration as we endeavour to focus on ‘green’ initiatives and programs."
"It took generations to short-circuit the water balance in Victoria. Similarly, it would take generations of landowners incorporating rain gardens in redeveloped properties in order to mimic the function of natural systems, and restore the water balance while meeting their drainage needs," observed Kim Stephens. "The phrase 'cathedral thinking' aptly describes the long-term commitment that would be required to achieve the City’s design with nature vision for sustainable rainwater management."
"We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward. We have to build regulatory models and develop models of practice and expertise,” stated Dale Wall, Deputy Minister.
Drawing from the musical concept of “temperament” as a way to achieve harmony, Jonathan Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, well-being, and the ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. He advocates using green infrastructure to mitigate damage from destructive storms. "What's so compelling about natural systems solutions is that they not only save costs but also improve the quality of life," he contends.
In the 1990s, Bill Derry (photo left), the founding chair of the Washington State stormwater managers committee, and Kim Stephens led a workshop program for B.C. municipalities and provided cross-border sharing of stormwater research. They created what became known as the “fish pictures.” These graphics translated science and and set the stage for British Columbia to move towards sustainable watershed asset management.
“In this special issue on a Water Balance approach to community development we explain that the natural pathways by which rainfall reaches streams are nature’s 'infrastructure assets'. They provide Water Balance Services that blend with services provided by engineered assets (infrastructure). We start out at a high level, present tools developed by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, and conclude with a watershed focus," wrote Kim Stephens.
Even with elevated greenhouse gases, water can cool the biosphere and address destructive feedback loops in the climate system. "Water and soils are deeply connected, and many water problems are a result of land desiccated and bare due to human mismanagement. The good news is that we can turn droughts and floods around by restoring soils to health and bringing back ecosystem biodiversity. And it can happen remarkably quickly - nature celebrates life!", states Adam D. Sacks.
A scenario comparison tool to assess green infrastructure effectiveness, achieve a lighter 'water footprint' and protect stream health. Learn More
The Water Conservation Calculator illustrates how specific water conservation measures can yield both fiscal and physical water savings for communities. Learn More
This Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
This Agricultural Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
The BC Agriculture Water Calculator enables water licensing for all irrigation purposes, whether agricultural or landscape. All non-domestic users of groundwater in BC are required to obtain a licence. Learn More